Sunday, November 5, 2017
[Shasta County] Redding to grand jury: pension deadlines 'not reasonable'
Redding and the Shasta County Grand Jury are going another round on the city’s pension liabilities.
The City Council on Tuesday night could sign off on a letter from Mayor Brent Weaver to the grand jury, firmly rejecting its recommendations for Redding to get its pension funding in order.
The grand jury recommended, among other things, the city by Oct. 31 look for ways to increase contributions to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System over the next 12 years with minimal loss of key services and look for ways to increase revenues or reduce other expenditures.
The city’s unfunded CalPERS liability was about $207 million at the end of June 2015, according to the grand jury.
The jury also recommended a Dec. 31 deadline to create a five-year plan to increase pension funding for public safety and other employees.
But those timelines are “not reasonable,” Weaver said in the letter.
The city has sent a letter to the grand jury on its pensions report once before.
The city’s first response, penned in August, said the recommendations required “further analysis” and noted the city’s own work to address the problem.
But the grand jury found that lacking. The letter of the law, Foreperson Johnni Hansen wrote to the city, required the city to include a timeline for that analysis, which it didn’t.
“Due to the concerns issued by the grand jury the city’s response will now state that the recommendations will not be implemented due to the time frames required,” City Manager Barry Tippin said in a report the council.
Redding isn’t letting its pension woes go unaddressed, though. Both responses to the grand jury mention Redding is looking at prepaying unfunded liabilities and using a trust fund to stabilize rates and refinance debt, among other options.
Tippin is under council orders to either come up with or start implementing a plan to deal with the city’s finances, including unfunded liabilities, by next year as part of an update to Redding’s 10-year financial plan.
Labor negotiators are also asking employee unions to help with pension costs, updating the city’s development fees and will ask voters next year to pass a tax on commercial cannabis business.
The city earlier this year began requiring top brass to kick in more toward their supplemental retirement plan.
November 5, 2017
Redding Record Searchlight
By Sean Longoria